Wednesday, January 14, 2009

  • History traces 50 years of Renison
  • All welcome to see stars on Saturday
  • Cold facts — very, very cold facts
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

History traces 50 years of Renison

Renison University College is golden today, as it’s exactly 50 years since the Ontario government issued a charter to what’s now one of four church-connected colleges on the UW campus.

The college will mark the anniversary Saturday afternoon with its annual Founders’ Day ceremonies and the launch of a history of the college by former principal Gail Cuthbert Brandt.

Renison College’s incorporation on January 14, 1959, resulted from efforts by Anglican clergy and lay people in Kitchener-Waterloo, under the authority of the Synod of the Diocese of Huron — the governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada in western Ontario. “The intention of the founders,” a historical summary says, “was to establish a college that would provide a supportive residential community for university students and that would promote social justice and inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.”

[Bishop and board members at the front door]It was named in memory of Most Rev. Robert John Renison (1875-1957), who had served as Archbishop of Moosonee 1943-1954 and Metropolitan of Ontario, the senior Anglican bishop in the province, 1952-1954. (The moose that has been Renison College’s mascot for many years is said to be a tribute to the Moosonee connection.)

Later in 1959, Renison moved into a house at 193 Albert Street, near what’s now Wilfrid Laurier University. The house (left) provided a men’s residence as well as the first office and classroom space for the college.

The first phase of its building on the UW campus opened in 1961, after the college became officially affiliated with the new university as of July 1, 1960. That affiliation gave the college the right to offer courses and programs for credit towards UW degrees.

Renison has made a series of additions to its campus over the years, and just last year it changed its name from “College” to “University College”.

Saturday’s anniversary celebration will begin with a service of Evensong and college Convocation at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, 23 Water Street, Kitchener, starting at 3:30 p.m. That will be followed by a formal reception at 5:00 p.m. in the great hall of the college, back in Waterloo.

During the convocation, UW history professor John English, along with H. Michael Burns, former Renison chancellor, and former faculty member and past Renison board member Merilyn Thompson, will be installed as Honorary Senior Fellows.

English will give the keynote address. Cuthbert Brandt will be on hand to sign copies of her new book, Bold and Courageous Dreams: The History of Renison University College, 1959-2009.

“This Founders’ Day,” a news release says, “kicks off a year of celebratory events at Renison, including a spring fundraising dinner featuring the Hon. Bob Rae as guest speaker, and an alumni dinner dance in the fall of 2009.

“Renison’s recent designation as a University College offers further reason to celebrate. Interim principal Dr. Bob Rosehart, notes that the new name honours both its heritage and its future.” Says Rosehart: “In recognizing academic standards and enhancing the institution’s profile, it reflects the reality that, at 50, Renison has evolved into a more classically structured institution.”

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All welcome to see stars on Saturday

a news release from the UW media relations office

To mark the beginning of the International Year of Astronomy, UW's department of physics and astronomy invites the public to a star-gazing event Saturday evening.

The year celebrates the 400th anniversary of Galileo first using a telescope to study the night sky. The two-hour UW event on Saturday begins at 7 p.m. in the Physics building. The free event is organized by the UW department and the K-W Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, whose members will be bringing their telescopes.

"There will be a variety of telescopes set up outside to give everyone the chance to see the wonders of the night sky first-hand," said Gretchen Harris, professor of physics and astronomy. "For those less fond of the cold outdoors, there will be a live feed from a telescope to one of the lecture theatres inside." As well, several short talks will be given by faculty members and amateur astronomers. There will also be telescopes on display indoors.

"This evening will show the great advances that have been made in the 400 years since Galileo first pointed his telescope at the sky," said David Gilbank, a post-doctoral researcher and event organizer. "Today, anyone can buy a telescope off the shelf much better than the one Galileo built. With the telescopes we will have set up, people will be able to see Galileo's discoveries, such as the phase of Venus, with their own eyes."

The event, which is wheelchair-accessible, will proceed in all weather conditions, and refreshments will be provided.

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Cold facts — very, very cold facts

The December issue of the UW staff association newsletter included a "year in review" report from the staff training and development committee, which includes UW management and staff representatives. Last year's highlights included the first Staff Development Conference, held in April and attracting 512 participants, it says (more than a quarter of all UW staff members). Dozens of short courses were offered during the year, on topics from software to "how to run a focus group" as well as the basics such as "Leadership for Results" and "Hallmarks of Supervisory Success". A session on the workplace "basic principles" is offered to all new staff members, the report notes. And this: "The Committee was asked to consider several requests for funding programs that only reach select groups such as Webinars. A subcommittee was appointed to outline a process and criteria for considering requests outside the training already being provided."

If the university owes you money, it might be coming electronically rather than on paper. Jane Manson, UW's director of finance, sent out the word this week: "Effective January 15, 2009, the University of Waterloo will reimburse certain students for out-of-pocket expenses, travel expenses and student account refunds via electronic funds transfer. Currently, only full-time employees who are reimbursed in CAD [Canadian dollars] are receiving these funds electronically. All other payees are reimbursed by cheque. The electronic payment program has been expanded to include students who are denoted on the employee file as 'Grads' or 'Temporary'. Normally, such students hold research assistant, research studentship or teaching assistant positions. In addition, a university employee who is entitled to a refund on their student account will receive the refund electronically. Students and employees who are reimbursed electronically will receive a printed remittance advice providing payment details. For employees, these remittances will be mailed on-campus. For students, these remittances will be mailed to the address provided on the expense claim form or if it is a student refund, to their address on Quest. Individuals denoted as casual employees will continue to receive reimbursement by cheque."

Alternatives journal, published in UW's Faculty of Environment, is looking for "examples of remarkable buildings, liveable streets, vibrant neighbourhoods, and environmentally diverse and healthy communities" — well, aren't we all; but Alternatives has something special in mind. "We want to know," says a memo, "how they are organized, why they are working and what we can do to spread their lessons." The goal: the October issue, under the slogan "One Sustainable Community at a Time". Details on what's wanted are on the magazine's web site. Also online is an announcement of a full-time job available with the magazine, as fund-raising and advertising coordinator — working on campus in "a co-operative, friendly and flexible work environment".

Sonny Lo of UW's political science department was in Macau, on the edge of China, on Monday taking part in a seminar on "the political impacts of casino capitalism". • I'm not quite sure what "wraperatha" means, but you can have it for dinner tonight at Mudie's cafeteria in Village I. • The staff Positions Available listing usually appears in a Wednesday Daily Bulletin, but the human resources department advises that there are no positions to be listed this week.

And . . . today's the big day for more than 80,000 high school students across Ontario, the deadline day for them to apply to universities for September 2009 admission. An oddity of the system operated by the Ontario Universities Application Centre is that the general deadline actually isn't until March 31, but Ontario students may find themselves shut out of high-demand programs if they don't get the online paperwork done by midnight tonight. (And even then there are exceptions; the details, so far as UW is concerned, are online.) The number of applications is expected to be up noticeably from last year's figures. Ontario colleges are experiencing a similar jump, with news this week that the number of would-be students in the college system has risen about 10 per cent from last year's level.


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Link of the day

International Year of Natural Fibres

When and where

Heritage Resources Centre lunch-and-learn series: Robert MacDonald, Archaeological Services Inc., “Managing Our Invisible Cultural Heritage”, 12:00, Environment I room 317.

Climate Change seminar: Antoni Lewkowicz, University of Ottawa, “Mountain Permafrost and Climate Change in the Yukon”, sponsored by Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, 12:00, Environment I room 2212.

Free noon concert: TorQ Percussion Ensemble, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

[Gaffield]Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council president Chad Gaffield (right) and vice-president Gisèle Yasmeen hold a town hall meeting, all welcome, 2:30 to 4:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Student exchanges to Baden-Württemburg (Germany) and Rhône-Alpes (France) for 2009-10, information session 3:00, Needles Hall room 1101, information ext. 33999.

Dons Do Dinner events in residence cafeterias: Italian, today at REVelation, Ron Eydt Village; Caribbean, Thursday at Mudie’s, Village I, from 4:30 p.m.

Warrior basketball with ‘Shoot for Tuition’ promotion at halftime, women’s game 6:00, men’s game 8:00, Physical Activities Complex.

Clubs, Services and Society Days with tables and displays in the Student Life Centre great hall, Thursday-Friday 10:00 to 3:00.

‘Career interest assessment’ workshop Thursday 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Graduate studies in mathematics information session for third-year and fourth-year undergraduates, Thursday 4:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group presents “Migrant Workers in Ontario” Thursday 5:30 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 301.

German film series: “Metropolis” (1927), Thursday 6:00, East Campus Hall room 1220.

Wilfrid Laurier University opening of Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action, keynote speaker Budd Hall (University of Victoria), Friday 2:30 p.m., WLU Science building room N1002. Details.

St. Jerome’s University presents “Confronting Evil Today”, free three-part mini-course by faculty member David Seljak, begins Friday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall.

Warrior Weekend activities in the Student Life Centre Friday and Saturday evenings, including films, crafts, food, pillow fight and pajama contest. Details.

Co-op job postings for spring work term begin January 17; employer interviews begin January 29.

Fantastic Alumni, Staff and Faculty Day at Warrior basketball games, Saturday, women 2 p.m., men 4 p.m. vs. Guelph, Physical Activities Complex, half-time promotions. Details.

Artery Gallery operated by UW fine arts students holds opening reception for “Bandy”, exhibition of local music and art, Saturday 6:00 p.m., 158 King Street West, admission $5, exhibition continues through January 31.

Used book sale in support of Renison College library, Monday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., hallway outside library.

UW senate Monday 4:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Faculty of Science presents Sydney Brenner, Nobel prize winner 2002, and John Bell, University of Oxford, “The Architecture of Biological Complexity,” Tuesday 10:30 a.m., Humanities Theatre, admission free.

Volunteer/Internship Fair with representatives from many agencies, January 21, 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: Rachel Spronken-Smith, University of Otago, New Zealand, “Designing Courses with Strong Teaching-Research Links”, January 21, 1:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library room 428. Details.

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